By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – To maintain public order and citing security issues, the Presidents of Brazil’s Senate and Chamber of Deputies as well as the governor of Brasília announced Thursday afternoon that demonstrators camped outside Congress have 48 hours to leave the premises.
According to Senate president Renan Calheiros, Chamber president, Eduardo Cunha and Brasilia’s governor, Rodrigo Rollemberg, the scuffle which occurred on Wednesday between participants of the National March of Black Women and pro-impeachment demonstrators has led lawmakers to fear for the safety of both congressional employees and demonstrators.
“We had the start of conflicts, very bad situations, and the governor said it was impossible to maintain security and public order the way things are now. We are asking the groups that are there to leave in the next 48 hours so that we may re-establish order,” said Cunha. “This is not a ban on demonstrations or a ban of any type of ideology, but the incapacity of guaranteeing their security,” added the Chamber president.
During Wednesday’s scuffle a police officer with the pro-impeachment campers fired four shots into the air when according to witnesses some women from the march tried to take down an inflatable doll. Two police officers were arrested during the incident.
“Until now we have admitted demonstrations, respecting the liberty to protest. But due to the conflicts between groups which defend different points of view we believe it is inadequate for campers to remain (outside federal buildings),” stated Brasilia governor Rollemberg.
Rollemberg believes that protesters will leave the area peacefully, but if not he says he will use all the means necessary to remove the campers and take down the campsites.